The Netherlands: Ongoing search for artist and song while rumours abound

by Roy Knoops 1,561 views

The Netherlands is keeping its Eurovision 2019 act and song strictly behind closed doors, while rumours and snippets of information leak through the cracks.

As countries around Europe and beyond are getting ready for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019, rumours are flying high. Some countries are pretty straightforward about their participants or national selections, while others remain tight-lipped.

The Netherlands is among the latter countries, to the extent that even the Dutch media are getting anxious: the nation on the coast of the North Sea revealed their entrant at an early stage in the past years, usually in the September to December period. Now, January 2019 is well on its way and only snippets of information have been officially released.

Let’s take a look at what we know so far.

“The song is of utmost importance”

Back in October 2018, Dutch Eurovision commentator and member of broadcaster AVROTROS‘ selection committee Mr. Cornald Maas stated in the TV-show Tijd Voor MAX (“Time For MAX”):

There are still multiple talks. The most important thing is that there’s a very good song to begin with.

This statement indicated that AVROTROS was taking a slightly different approach to Eurovision 2019: previously the broadcaster had, successfully, opted to internally select more prominent Dutch artists. For 2019, it seems that they are also looking at songs, perhaps assigning them to particular artists at a later stage.

Cornald Maas also commented on the fact that well-known Dutch singer Caro Emerald had indicated to be interested in Eurovision, if AVROTROS would call her: there had been no contact, but it was still possible.

No news until after Christmas, in the new year

Fast forward to early December 2018. Some time after Cornald Maas’ comments and still no definite news, the Dutch media were getting anxious: in previous years participants such as Douwe Bob, OG3NE and Waylon were confirmed, or leaked, in the September to December period. Newspapers such as Metro and De Telegraaf approached AVROTROS for information.

Radio personality and AVROTROS’ chief editor Mr Daniël Dekker, who is also a member of the selection committee, commented:

It’s not taking long at all. We have to deliver a song in March, so we have plenty of time. After Christmas or in the new year we will have more information.

They really don’t know?

And just at the start of the new year, on 4 January 2019, popular singer, co-commentator at Eurovision and selection committee member Jan Smit put in his two cents regarding the ongoing rumour mill, also commenting on the pressure from the media:

I can say from the bottom of my heart that we haven’t found anyone yet. You don’t have to reveal who will sing until March. We have listened to various songs, are still receiving songs and there are still people being put forward.

The media are somewhat forcing us to name names. That can be, and I’m speaking for myself, a bit tiresome at times. We could say that we called ten people or that we are having talks, but that doesn’t amount to anything. The moment it becomes conclusive, we will surely come forward.”

Choice for the song is coming along

Jan Smit continues with an interesting statement:

The choice for the song is made for 50%. But we haven’t made any definitive decisions. There are various lyricists. Maybe you don’t get anyting from this information, but I’m not going to give a cock and bull story.

If you have a song, you must look for an artist to go along with it. That doesn’t have to be a very well-known Dutch person. That’s something we consciously chose in the past. It would be beautiful if every Dutch person could participate. In fact, it’s about what you deliver and how it’s presented on stage. Who does that, doesn’t have to matter that much.

Who is in the mix?

Besides rumoured artists such as Dutch diva of electric swing Caro Emerald, Eurovision 2005 veteran and America’s Got Talent 2018 participant Glennis Grace, and Dutch Eurovision 2012 national selection contestant Raffaëla Paton (Chocolatte), a few artists have actually confirmed contact with AVROTROS or have made explicit remarks about Eurovision.

Jim van der Zee

Winner of The Voice Of Holland 2018 and member of team Anouk (Eurovision 2013) Jim van der Zee, who made a splash in the show with his cover of Salvador Sobral‘s Amar pelos dois, confirmed that he had been approached by AVROTROS – not as a performing artist, but as a composer. He has submitted material, but claims to have received no reply since.

Known for his sultry warm voice, could Jim be a potential candidate himself?

Davina Michelle

Another name that has had considerable media attention is that of YouTube-star Davina Michelle. The newcomer made quite an impression during the latest edition of the popular TV-show De Beste Zangers Van Nederland (“The Best Singers Of The Netherlands), scoring an enormous hit with her cover of the song Duurt te lang (“Takes too long”) by rapper Glen Faria a.k.a. MC Fit, topping the music charts in the Netherlands and launching her career, getting over 10 million views on YouTube.

Davina Michelle admits that she was approached by AVROTROS, but doesn’t want to participate in Eurovision – yet:

First of all, I want to discover who I am myself and which music I want to make. After that, I will see if Eurovision fits within that. For this edition, I would have been allowed to choose my own song. I passed for this year. They reacted very open to that: that’s fine, until next year.

Would Davina Michelle be a good choice, either for this year or for a future edition? Check out her aptly titled hit Duurt te lang:

De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig

A group that has actively stated their interest in Eurovision, but has not yet been officially approached by AVROTROS, is Dutch rap formation De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig (“The Youth Of These Days”). Known for their experimental style and often cheeky lyrics, the group is one of the mosty popular hip-hop acts of the Netherlands, scoring many hits.

They actually started a campaign to go to Eurovision, backed by radio station 3FM – if they get a cool 200.000 Euro’s each. Now, that’s the way to make negotiations!

Check out their recent track Let the tits out, whose title speaks for itself…

So, who would you like to see representing the Netherlands on the Eurovision stage in Tel Aviv this May?


The Netherlands at Eurovision 2018

Artist Waylon (born Willem Bijkerk, Apeldoorn, 1980), one of the most popular male singers of the Netherlands and also having achieved considerable international success, represented the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018.

He had previously represented his country alongside Ilse DeLange as guest vocalist of her country collective The Common Linnets at the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark. With their haunting country ballad Calm after the storm they won semi-final 1 and eventually honourably placed 2nd in the Grand Final with 238 points.

Waylon returned to the Eurovision stage as a solo artist at Eurovision 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal. Performing the gritty country rock anthem Outlaw in’em, he reached the 18th place in the Grand Final, receiving 121 points.